3 Day A Week Upper/Lower Split By BowTiedOx
Welcome and hello! What I have put together is a simple 3 Day a Week Upper/Lower Split made for those that are familiar with lifting, and looking to maximize the most muscle growth with the least amount of time in the gym. This program is simple, efficient, and will absolutely pack on size. This is perfect for the busy professional, student, or hobby lifter looking to efficiently build muscle and follow a structured plan.
How To Execute The Plan
This plan takes a low volume, high intensity approach as this is the most effective way to build muscle mass. The volume (sets) are much lower than your tradition training plan, but that’s because most traditional are, to be frank, just not very good. This plan will be enough, trust me you’ll know after the first workout. I will take you through all the rep ranges in the hypertrophic rep range (6-20 reps) to maximize muscle growth. You will then perform the rep range and progressively add weight over time, this is know as progressive overload and is the main driver of all muscle growth.
Example: You will perform Incline Barbell Bench Press for 2 sets, your first set will be a weight that you will be able to lift until total muscle failure for 6-9 reps, you will then rest 2-3 minutes then perform your second set with 10-25% less load for 10-12 reps to absolute failure. Once you reach the top end of the designated rep range you will add weight, this could be as little as 2.5lbs, the point is to continue to force the body to adapt to growing stimulus thus force the muscle to grow to reach the demand.
By doing so you will have effective stimulated your muscle fibers and illicit a growth response, any more volume would just be wasted time. More is not always better, especially in the game of weightlifting.
Before each movement you will warm up the muscle, this could be very light loads for 10-15 reps to get blood flowing and the muscle warmed up. The point of warming up is priming your muscle for the lift, but not taxing it at all an example warmup would look like the following:
1 set 135 for 12
1 sets 185 for 5
1 set 225 for 3
Then into your working set of 315 for 6-9 reps
Form should always stay perfect. If you have to sacrifice form to complete the set you were doing too much weight. This not only increases the risk for injury, you are taking the tension off the targeted muscle by recruiting other muscle to complete the lift. You can see how this is not optimal.
Tempo should be kept at a steady rate, I like a 3121 tempo meaning 3 seconds on the eccentric, 1 second at the bottom of the movements, 2 seconds on the concentric, and 1 second at the top. This takes momentum out of the equations and adds time under tension. Time under tension is what will cause the mechanical tension for muscle growth. Tempo should be kept constant to ensure you are progressing with the same time under tension always, otherwise you are making it easier on the muscle and not giving it the equal stimulus it needs to start the adaptive response.
How To Structure The Workouts
The workout plan will follow a rotational weekly basis, week 1 you will do Upper 1 on Monday, Lower 1 on Wednesday, Upper 1 on Friday, the next week you will do Lower 2 on Monday, Upper 2 on Wednesday, Lower 2 on Friday, and rotate on that basis for 12-16 weeks, you will then spend 1 week in a deload. You will either go 3 times a week and do lighter weight, short of failure just enough to get a pump. Or you will take an entire week off. This is all preference because some people needs the gym for mental/stress purposes.
If you are unfamiliar with an exercise or do not have a piece of equipment, feel free to swap it out with a similar movement you have access too. All barbell movements can be done with dumbbells or machine, likewise if you do not have access to say a leg press, you can swap this out for front squats. If a movement causes you discomfort and pain, swap it for something that targets the specific movement that doesn’t cause that pain or discomfort.
If you are unsure about a specific movement, I suggest looking up videos by John Meadows, Physique Development, and Hypertrophy Coach. These individuals have a wealth of knowledge and will be able to explain these movements to an absolute science.
Incline Barbell Bench Press: 2 sets 6-9, 10-12
Deadlift: 2 Sets 6-9, 10-12
Lat Pulldown: 2 sets 8-10, 12-15
Close Grip Bench Press: 6-9, 12-15
Chest Flies 2 Sets 10-12, 12-15
Tricep Pushdown: 2 sets 12-15, 15-20
Lateral Raises: 2 Sets 12-15
Bicep Preacher: Curl 2 Sets 10-12, 15-20
Abs: 3 Sets to failure with perfect form
Hamstring Curls: 2 sets 6-9, 12-15
Back Squat: 2 Sets 6-9, 10-12
Leg Extensions: 2 sets 10-12, 15-20
Adductors: 2 sets 12-15
Calves Raises: 2 sets 12-15 with 4 second hold at bottom in the stretch
Abs: 3 sets to failure, nothing heavy
Chest Supported or BB Row: 2 sets 6-9, 10-12
Shoulder Press: 2 sets 6-9, 10-12
Lat Pull Down With Lat Bias: (elbows don’t cross the body): 2 sets 8-10, 12-15
Dips: 2 sets 6-9, 12-15
BB Shrugs: 1 set 6-9
Tricep Pushdown: 2 sets 12-15, 15-20
Face Pulls: 2 sets 12-15
Hammer Curls: 3 sets 8-10, 12-15, 20+
Abs: 3 sets to failure perfect form
Hamstring Curls: 2 sets 8-10, 12-15
Leg Press: 2 sets 6-9, 10-12
Leg Extensions: 3 sets 20+, 8-10, 12-15
Adductors: 1 set 15-20 4132 tempo
Walking Lunges: 2 sets 12-15
Hip Thrusters: 1 sets 8-10
Calves: 1 set DC Style 12-15 (5 sec down, 10-15 second stretch, explode up)
Abs: 2 sets to failure nothing heavy
I hope you first and foremost enjoy this program. With over 8 years of bodybuilding experience, I can guarantee you’re going to see results, it’s absolutely, scientifically inevitable. I can attest to this program as I followed something extremely similar and saw the biggest increase of muscle mass in my life due to learning proper training principles and adopting a progressive overload approach.
For any questions, please DM on Twitter @BowTiedOx or in the official BowTied discord. I will be happy to explain anything and everything and help you along the way.